by David Kinnear

It’s September 12 and what you don’t already know about the new iPhone, you’re probably going to find out today.

I have fond memories of my first cell ‘phone – it was the size of a small brick and you could warm your hands on it on cold days in New York since it produced so much radiant heat. The next had a lot more “cool factor” – a StarTak flip ‘phone for those of you that recall one of those. They became quite a thing and I come across people still talking about how they miss their StartTak ‘phone. This of course was many years ago and we have stepped through remarkable cycles of cellular innovation – not least of which was the introduction of the iPhone whose most current version the world now awaits with baited breath and nervous wallets.

In the intervening years, the ‘phone has shifted from being a relative luxury to being a critical necessity and a highly-prized and personalized possession. Most of us are addicted to our ‘phones one way or the other. If not addicted, we are otherwise connected by necessity. It has become the “office in our hip pocket” and days of just making calls have long since been replaced by the complex operations we now conduct from this deceptively simple device. I say deceptively simple because of course the ‘phone in our pocket makes the complicated functions of day-to-day life simple – the serious, the fun, the useful – all of it.

Which brings us to law.

One of law’s complexities lies in the delivery of it and, historically, the human capital implications it presents. This is particularly the case in certain fields such as document review and contract review – situations in which we may need to ramp up and down our labor on hand to meet finite goals. Situations in which we have a limited window in which to achieve a stated goal or a fixed scope goal for which there is no ongoing operational (labor) requirement.

Which brings us to the ‘phone in your pocket.

In the course of many years – in the absence of a better alternative – the process of assembling and deploying qualified legal labor has been expensive and time-consuming. Manual interview and screening processes, costly turnaround times – and very little evidence of candidate self-service or client empowerment. That sounds a lot like my first ‘phone – the one before the first cell ‘phone – the one that was attached by a cord and only came in beige, green or putrid red. When ‘phones were attached with cords, customer experience wasn’t a priority the way it is now.

Which brings us to rather disruptive technology like Mplace.

The ’phone in your pocket represents the empowerment of a generation and every future generation – the ability to self-serve, self-select, self-support. This is hugely relevant in the context of engaging people who are qualified and who want to be found. Without question it is the path to mobilizing individuals for every task under the sun, including document review and contract review. It is the path of better, faster, cheaper since it starts and ends with the motivated individual and a variety of ways to screen them digitally, efficiently, accurately.

The task of finding and mobilizing qualified legal talent shouldn’t be complicated. I repeat “shouldn’t”. In future, it won’t be. If you can hear me, you can find me. And that’s the point.

Can you hear me now?